Varanasi Day 3

Continued from Varanasi Day 2.

Today is my last full day here in Varanasi. I feel like I’ve seen most of the major sights here in Varanasi. The Canadians and I made plans yesterday to meet up at 11 today at the rooftop restaurant for Chai, then we’ll figure out what to do after that.

Ahhh, a hammock. The idea was nice, except as I was laying there, I realized that you can lay on it both ways. It means that someone has had their shit caked shoe where my head is laying on. Ugh, fuck me.

By the way, everyone who comes to Varanasi ends up eating tons of shit. Human shit, dog shit, cow shit, bird shit, goat shit, fish shit, you name it, I’ve eaten it here. The streets are just so caked in shit that you’ll get it all over your shoes. There is just no way to avoid stepping in some sort of shit here. Then you track it into your room. Then it gets on your jeans. Then it gets on your shirt. Then you tie your shoes, and now it’s on your hands. You touch the faucet and now it’s on your faucet. You wash your hands, turn off the faucet, and then with that same hand eat naan. No wonder people get sick here. It’s simply impossible to have good hygiene in this city.

It is a very windy day here in Varanasi today. Look at all the ripples on the river. They were also doing some sort of ceremony on the opposite bank this morning.

The flags were all flying their colors.

Here comes my friends. I was waiting for them on the rooftop, where the wind was ridiculously strong. Now I get to move downstairs to a table at a more enclosed area.

Aalu Dum Kashmeri!! It’s a potatoe stuffed with seasoned eggs. Think devil eggs inside a potato. I Loved it! Then it was Chai Time!

Yes please!

I’ve seen a floating corpse, a dog eating a corpse, and a human burned out in the open here in Varanasi. I think I’ve seen everything that I can get out of Varanasi. Today will be devoted to pretty low key items. There are some temples in the area that we’ve heard about and we’ll visit them and see what they are like.

Narrow alleys here in old town. Of course, no photo of Varanasi is complete without a giant splat of shit on the ground.

Holi Cow!

Finally found the streets with vehicles. We took a different route from my guesthouse to the main street, and of course, we got lost several times.

The girls went to negotiate with a rickshaw, and they immediately talked him down to our price. Having breasts and vagina has its perks.

Oh, we know how this works. We got in the rickshaw, and immediately, Indian Electronica blasts behind us. No Bieber this time though.

Our driver also had a whole temple in front of him. Damn visibility!

A marching band.

We’ve reached the first temple.

This is the Durga Temple. No photos allowed inside. We also had to take off our shoes and walk in there bare feet. Yes, this means that I’ve got shit all over my feet now. Ugh. It wasn’t worth it. The temple was very much meh.

Walking to the next temple.

We think this may have been it, but it was closed. The gate was neat though.

How about a romantic picnic by the nice creek that’s next to a mountain of filth?


Oh, they got it right on the other side though.

Hmmmm, street food.

We walked around looking for the monkey temple. We asked several people for directions, and they all pointed us in a different way.

OK, I think we are finally on the right direction.

All over India, a lot of food or drink stands will use these clay cups. They are for one time use only, sort of like our paper cups.

They’ve got no problems showing that someone is missing a limb here.

Is this the monkey temple? Nope, it wasn’t.

Eventually, we did find the monkey temple. We walked in, saw a lot of monkeys. Saw a whole line of people lining up to the main part of the temple. As part of their ritual, the crowd would randomly burst into “Hey!” while raising their hands, at which point I would say “Ohhh!” while raising my hands. I don’t think anyone else got my joke except for the Canadians. Anyhow, the temple didn’t seem that exciting, so we didn’t even take off our shoes to go to the crowded interior part. No photos anyway, so that takes a lot of fun away from me.

The brick is softer than the mortar.

Back on the rickshaw! I love riding in rickshaws. In the middle of all this chaotic traffic, a rickshaw feels like a little bubble that protects you, but at the same time, you feel alive and part of the city.

They are really big on hearts here in India.

Someone stole this driver’s jams.

Baby cow. Cute.

Back to the city center, back to the madness.

Trying too hard. I took this photo, and instantly JF looked at me and chuckled. I am glad others share my same sense of humor. Yes, I am judging this girl with the om tattoo. Also please note the airy pants that many tourists buy and wear, which almost no Indians wear on a regular basis.

Follow this gateway back into old town to look for the Golden Temple.

We think this is the way….

Everyone’s probably tired of seeing photos of shit, but this is my own photo diary, so I can put as much of it as I want on here. These redundant photos of shit will remind me just how much shit there was all over Varanasi.

Found the Golden Temple. We took off our shoes, walked down the nasty street, went up to where we enter, and were promptly denied entry. Apparently, we needed to have our passports to enter. No one and no sign ever told us that. We took off our shoes and stepped in shit for nothing. Shit! I guess that’s that. We knew we weren’t going to see much today, and it’s really turning out that way. Time to go grab a beer and chill out.

I’ve heard these may be milk jugs. I don’t know why there’s grass and other plant matter coming out of the lid though.

Bitches love necklaces.

Back to Brown Bread Bakery. We came here because they have beer here. Well, the service was so slow that eventually, we just left and decided to get beer at the restaurant attached to my guest house.

The girls had some vodka still left in their room, so they went back to grab that. I headed back to the guest house and did some reading while they went to grab the juice.

They came back with gifts! These are deep fried super sweet dough/syrup/cavities. They were fun to eat.

Apple vodka with some Indian soda infusion. I can’t say that it was tasty, but what needed to be done had to be done. Chug and pass.

The beer arrives, but its warm. Not the first time I’ve had warm beer here in India. Seems to be a common theme. They were also very weirded out about us ordering 3 big bottles of beer.

They were against leaving the bottles on the table, so the beers had to be poured into the pots.

Cheers! Guess which girl is excited about drinking?

We went for another round. We hadn’t finished all the beer in the pots yet, so the server eventually told us that we can’t keep the new bottles on the table. I had to put them on the ground and try to hide them. I wonder what kind of law/regulation we are breaking?

Drinking brings the best out of us. They did say that I was the first normal single male traveler that they’ve met in the past two months!! Apparently, they have met a lot of weird guys who are in India trying to “find themselves”. I am just here to eat and see the “Cluster Fuck!”.

Hungry, must eat.

Then, it started raining pretty hard. It’s been raining these past three nights here in Varanasi. And of course, when it rains here in Varanasi, the power gets turned off. We were now drinking in semi darkness except for the few generator powered lights.

It rained hard, but it did not rain for very long. Good, because this means we can go back out on the street to look for some lassi.

This is where they do Ganga aarti. It’s quite nice after its rained here in Varanasi. Much more peaceful now that many of the people went home seeking shelter.

We went out to the main road, and asked around. Found a guy who sold it for 40INR each. Not bad at all. We ordered from him, and he said that it’ll be 10 minutes. Sure. Some time passes, then from the shadow, this other guy appears, and hands over the goods over to the guy who we ordered from. Haha, this is so funny.

Bhang lassi.

Done. That was enjoyable.

Now, we are on the search for egg sandwiches.

Guys are affectionate to other guys here.

Yes! Best drunk food ever!

After drinking, bhang lassi, and now with egg sandwich in hand, we decided to go chill out at the Canadian’s hostel. They were staying in a place that’s only $5 a night. I had heard about these places, and was curious to see for myself what its like.

Well, it’s about what I had expected. It felt like a $5 a night place, but it was still relatively clean. What did suck was that while walking to it, the streets were very dark and I am sure I stepped in tons of shit leading up to it.

The girls tore into their egg sandwiches as soon as we made it to their hostel. I saved mine until I had the munchies. It was a good plan, because it really hit the spot then.

We joked and laughed about the three bags on the ground. I took this seemingly pointless photo to remind myself of the pointless conversations that we had.

They had a pretty nice roof top area in their hostel. This part of Varanasi looks very different from the old town part of Varanasi.

It was getting late, around 12. We were descending, in multiple ways, and we all had to catch our respective rides out of Varanasi tomorrow, with the girls having an early train. Shit…I don’t know how I am going to find my way home. I am probably about a 20 minute walk from where I am staying at and am not familiar with the area. The girls decided to walk me out, far enough to a road that I would recognize. We walked a couple of blocks, and then a pedicab came by and asked if I wanted a ride. I initially refused(I was not thinking), then I called him back. Said goodbye to the Varanasi Crew(they were a lot of fun and so laid back, I am really going to miss them), and hopped on the pedicab and asked him to take me to the ganga aarti ghat where I can find my way back to the guesthouse.

The streets were pretty empty since it’s so late. I am glad I took the pedicab, because it really is safer for me this way.

Now, this part, it gets tricky. Since the city doesn’t have much of a nightlife, everything shuts down early. Remember that sign from my guest house stating that we need to be back by 10pm. Well, I was thinking about that on the ride back to the guest house, I thought about how that may mean they lock the gates and I won’t be able to get in from the river side entry.

The pedicab got me to the ghat, I walked along the river, and almost tripped over a low line of metal wire in the dark. As this happened, the Indian man walking in front of me turned around and in a caring way mentioned that I should keep a better eye on the road. Then we struck up a conversation. He was on his way home just like me. I asked him if he knew whether the river side entry of my guest house will be unlocked, he said that it’ll be locked. Fuck me! I asked him if he can show me the way to the front entrance. He quickly agreed.

He pointed to this direction and told me to turn right and look for the direction signs. When the locals aren’t trying to scam you, they are really nice people. As I thanked him and we parted ways, he mentioned that I will probably need to knock on the front door for them to let me in.

Saw the sign in the dark shit filled alleyways.

Found the front door. FUCK ME! It’s locked and the door behind the metal gate is closed. I am locked out of my guest house in a shit filled stinky alley with who knows who else roaming the streets around me. Shit!

I stuck my hand through the metal gate and pushed on the wood doors behind it. Oh, it opened. I pushed the door all the way open, and I yelled “Hello!!” into the darkness. I hear nothing but echo. I did this several more times, and in my frustration, I grabbed onto the gate and started shaking it. I felt like a drama queen and I felt like I was in a movie. I kept on looking back behind my shoulders too because I could hear the dogs out fighting each other. I am kind of in a bind right now…Fuck fuck fuck…I am actually starting to legitimately fear for my own safety. Nothing is preventing a group of guys from jumping me and dumping my body in the Ganges along with all the other corpse in there.

I was about to give up, walked backwards from the gate to decide what I will do next, then I saw someone come up to the gate. YES!!! My commotion woke up a staff member, and I could tell he is unhappy that I woke him up to open the gate for me. I thanked him profusely for opening the gate, gave him a 50 INR note as tip, and then slipped into my room. That was an adventure. I’ve decided I really didn’t like feeling this unsafe in a poverty stricken foreign city. It is the right time for me to leave Varanasi.

To be continued at Jaipur Day 1.